Laying down our (API) roots

tools, ethical-tech, civic-tech

Do Gooder has joined the Open Supporter Data Interface (OSDI) initiative - an API standard for connecting progressive platforms – because inter-connecting our movement's digital infrastructure is key to progressive society growing faster, more diverse and more resilient.

Scientists recently discovered that trees in forests actually communicate and co-operate with each other underground using a network of fungi. Through collaboration they thrive and survive, warning neighbours of invasions and sharing nutrients to unhealthy members of the community until they recover. So complex is the interaction that it's been dubbed the Wood Wide Web.

We humans are a little less evolved at times - especially when it comes to our competitive corporate culture. We often work alone, holding our knowledge close to our chests and coveting customers and data as if its scarcity added to its value. The result is: often values-aligned organisations that could be working together are not, their data silo'd from each other - collectively and individually weaker for our isolation.

This is nowhere more striking than in the progressive movement, where purpose-driven organisations, who are all striving for a fairer and safer world, often work over, under and across each other. Regularly we use ethically questionable products from profit-driven Big Tech and others just because they're easier to work with, and as a result support some of the very things we are fighting against.

The OSDI initiative aims to fix this by creating a set of standards for an API and data structures exclusively for progressive tech providers to utilise. It's an ambitious project with the potential to build deep bonds in the political technology landscape because it makes it much easier to wire up platforms that support its standards.

To understand why this could result in a step change for the progressive movement it's important to consider how leading digital campaigns work from a technical perspective in 2018. The best campaign teams rarely choose a one-size fits all platform to provide everything for them. They use multiple systems and web services – all wired together from a variety of software providers, to create a custom software system.

The only problem is, integrating a suite of tools into a high performing tricked out digital ecosystem that meets your needs for communication, fundraising, supporter management, digital campaigning, advocacy and so on, is still quite a lot of work.

Not as much as rolling your own from scratch of course – but still, each of the tools needs to be integrated and data flows enabled. While some tools come out of the box with support for a few other platforms or intermediaries like Zapier, if you are carefully selecting the best tools for your unique needs you'll inevitably have to write a chunk of code to glue it all together.

That's what's so exciting about the OSDI initiative.

The work involved in bolting tools together so that data passes from one to the other seamlessly is reduced by an order of magnitude when the formats and standards all match. Because it's only available for progressives it gives us all an edge over non-partisan and right-wing platforms. Do Gooder is immediately more useful when connected with other progressive systems, as are those systems – helping us all perform better and win more fights for a fairer world.

Do Gooder now allows OSDI syncing of all your contact data to any third party system you want. So you can effortlessly use Do Gooder to engage and activate supporters online, and send the data directly to your CRM to do what it does best. Or if you like a different action tool from another vendor it's easy to wire that up too.

A rainforest is much more than a collection of trees and living things, it is a living thing. The OSDI, much like the fungal networks under the forest floor, provides the matter from which we can build our own connections. We can begin to lay roots deep within our platforms and organisations and from those connections grow a more progressive world.

Our API is live and available on all Goodest and Goodest Pro Plans. Try it today!